I Made An Old-Fashioned Depression Cake Today!

When I was a child, we were living in the last days of what some people call “The Great Depression” and things that we take for granted today were pretty scarce. Sugar and butter and eggs were among the items that were often hard to find. So my Mom made do with what was on hand and we often enjoyed chocolate-flavored “Depression Cake” which was baked entirely without any eggs, milk or butter at all. It actually turned out quite good!

The recipe:

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour — you do not have to sift the flour!
  • 1.5 cups regular granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp common table salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil — I just use regular all-vegetable cooking oil.
  • 1 full tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

When the dry ingredients have been mixed in the bowl, combine the vanilla extract, the water and the apple cider vinegar in a cup.

After this step, add the 1/3 cup cooking oil to the dry ingredients. (No need to mix at this point.)

Once the oil has been added to the dry ingredients, add the wet mixture in the cup to the bowl as well.

Using a hand-mixer of some kind, beat the batter until it is smooth making sure not to leave any dry flour in the bottom of the bowl. This should take about two minutes or so if you are using an electric mixer.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and choose the center rack of the oven to bake the cake.

Pour the batter into a 9-inch x 9-inch greased baking pan.

Bake the cake for 35 minutes and test to see if it is done. (It should be done when a straw or a thin blade penetrates the cake and comes out with no cake residue on it.)

While the cake is still warm from the oven, lightly spray the top with a cooking spray.

After using the cooking spray sparingly, dust the top of the finished cake with as generous a dusting of regular white confectioners’ sugar as you desire.

This cake is somewhat chewey and while it might not be the best you have ever eaten, I believe you will find it to be a creditable treat.

I find that I can become addicted to this recipe readily because it transports me back to another day.

5 thoughts on “I Made An Old-Fashioned Depression Cake Today!

  1. I am going to experiment with this cake …. Want to see if I can make it into caramel or butterscotch or apple ….or banana nut …. various treatments with the icings ….etc. It is quick, economical and delicious … I have discovered that much already.

    Liked by 1 person

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